This Big Sur elopement is special for SO many reasons!!! As the wedding industry was absolutely wrecked this year, an all-women team of vendors (myself includes) decided to take our deep devastation and channel it back into giving back by giving a huge, epic cliffside elopement away to one lucky diverse couple impacted by COVID. After dozens of entries, we selected Jessica and Brian — high school sweethearts of 12+ years who had survived SO much together only to have to cancel their 2020 wedding because of the coronavirus. We were able to recruit a diverse set of vendors to provide planning, photography, stationery, florals, makeup, and jewelry totally free to this special couple.
After months of coordination, the couple wed on a Monday (yay off-day weddings!) in October on a cliffside in Big Sur, California. To keep the day as intimate and safe as possible, just the couple’s parents were in attendance. Because Jessica and Brian’s Chinese heritage, the ceremony was translated in two languages in order to allow their parents to fully appreciate the sweet nuptials they each wrote. After their ceremony, we constructed a newlywed picnic on a nearby beach – including a Dom Perignon champagne toast – where the couple watched the sun set on their perfect wedding day. In an effort to keep things as stress-free for the couple as possible, all the details on the theme and aesthetic were kept a surprise until the couple arrived. We guided them on attire choices and delivered the invitations by mail to hint at the surprises in store. Another fun fact, to help reduce the number of people on site, one of the planners (Brittany) also officiated the ceremony.
More than anything, we wanted to balance natural beauty and minimalism to not outshine the beauty of our location. Using the surroundings of Big Sur as inspiration, everything from the attire, to the stationery, to the florals were inspired by the bright blue ocean, golden cliff sides/beaches, and laid-back vibe of the area. Given the couple’s original plans for a super “classic” “big wedding,” we used the elopement as a chance to put together a more modern and fun design, including little details that nodded to their deep love to Japan and Cabo (with Japanese whiskey in the details + stunning rock formations at the ceremony site). With the stationery, we tied in the muted blue tones with mustard velvet in custom-sized invitations and a stunning envelope liner. Not to mention, the hand-torn vow books and a keepsake map to be framed after the wedding. The floral half-moon arch at the ceremony site was constructed on-site of the windy cliff, using native Californian pampas grass to complement the natural surroundings. Because of the windiness of Big Sur, we opted for a peal cape (instead of a veil) for Jessica to lessen the distraction while keeping the ethereal vibe of this modern trend. In an effort to have the groom’s attire be just as stunning, we opted for a more trendy color (muted blue) and fitted silhouette for the tux with velvet loafers. The day was mostly captured on film to help preserve the true-to-life adventurous feel of the day.
From the couple: “This year has really put into perspective what is important to us in our relationship and our upcoming marriage. As much as we absolutely love our friends and family, we have realized that our union should, and will be, first and foremost about us and our love story. It was so special for us to have the chance to have a super intimate ceremony where we can truly concentrate on our connection, commitment, and exchange heartfelt vows without the pressure of a large event. I can’t imagine anything more beautiful and true to us than standing alongside each other on the coast taking on this next chapter side by side, just like we have since we were teenagers.”
If you love this Big Sur elopement, you will LOVE Caroline and Kyle’s engagement session North Cascades National Park!
Paige Vaughn Photo is an Austin and San Francisco Wedding Photographer specializing in fun, romantic and vibrant wedding, engagement, couple and boudoir photography. Within the Bay Area, we serve San Francisco, the South Bay, Peninsula, and East Bay: San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, San Carlos, Burlingame, Los Altos, Milpitas, Union City, Fremont, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz and surrounding areas. Within the Central Texas area, we serve: downtown Austin, Dripping Springs, Georgetown, East Austin, Wimberley, New Braunfels, San Antonio, and Houston. She is available for destination weddings and engagement sessions! Contact her for more detailed pricing.